Some writers’ names have becomes adjectives: Kafkaesque, marxist, Orwellian, sadistic. If your name (or nickname, or blog name) were to become an adjective, what would it mean?
Ben! this is too early in the morning, but coincidentally my short story for the day is about peculiar names that may be embarrassing. Here lies my short story for the day.
Ronald McDonald Meets A Gay
It was a night for slow drinking beer and no music on the jukebox. All the doors in the joint were opened and there wasn’t enough breeze to carry away the barroom stench or the misery trapped inside. Men carry miseries into a bar and nurture them with booze. They breed, multiply, and take up residence.
Spike and Jake were separated by a barstool, but joined by the invisible grasp of misery. There eyelids hung low and heavy. They dared not look at one another nor look straight forward into the mirror in the back bar. They both stared down at the bar’s top as if something might appear to give hope and wash away the misery.
“It’s a terrible life,” Spike said.
“And it only gets worse from here on out,” Jake said.
“I’ve seen you in here before,” Spike said, “but I don’t think I know your name.”
“Same with me,” Jake said. “I’m Jake.”
“I’m Spike,” Spike said.
The two men shook hands.
“Spike ain’t your real name is it?” Jake said.
“A name can be like a white elephant,” Spike said starring down at the bar like it was a deep dark hole. “That’s what I mean about things changing.”
“How’s that?” Jake asked shifting in his seat and facing Spike. “I don’t get what you mean.”
“My name,” Spike affirmed too ashamed to look at Jake.
“What is it?” Jake said. “It can’t be that bad.”
“Promise not to laugh or make fun of it,” Spike said.
“Sure, nobody has the right to do that,” Jake said.
“Ronald McDonald,” Spike said with a glint of relief. “It’s sort of liberating to say it.”
“What’s so awful about that?” Jake said.
“How did my parents ever know he would become a clown – a joke?” Spike said. “I just tell everybody my name is Spike, but I got pulled over once with a bunch of guys in the car. We were heading to a ball game. The officer read my name out loud and said he’d let me go for a Big Mac and fries. My buddies teased me all day long. I moved here twenty years ago and told everybody my name was Spike McDonald. I should have sued them for using my name, but who wants to win that law suit. What are they going to pay me off with, Big Macs and fries?”
Jake leaned closer and cupped his hand over his mouth. “My name ain’t Jake.”
“What is it?” Spike said.
“You keep my secret and I’ll keep yours,” Jake said.
“Deal,” Spike said.
“My first name is Isadore,” Jake said.
“That’s a cool name,” Spike said. “I like it.”
“Well remember what you said about things changing?” Jake said.
“Yeah,” Spike said.
“Well my real last name is Gay,” Jake said. “It used to mean happy and carefree; not such a bad name to have. Then the meaning changed.
“”That’s a tough one,” Spike said.
“I had to move also,” Jake said.
“How bad did it get before you did?” Spike said.
“They’re handing out diplomas at my graduation,” Jake said. “As they handed it to me they called out my name, Isadore Gay. Some jokester says, ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with it.’ And somebody else says, ‘Well, some doors swing both ways.”
“That’s terrible!” Spike said.
“Not so loud,” Jake said. “After that my Dad’s business went belly-up. My dad eventually drank himself to death.”
“Because of you?” Spike said.
“No,” Jake said. “He owned a bar, Gay’s Bar.”
“If he’d only held out for a while,” Spike said.
“A working class neighborhood in Pittsburg?” Jake said. “No way. It wasn’t that so much as it was my Uncle Pete kept taunting him saying, ’You should have moved to San Francisco years ago like I told you to.”